BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – Researchers now have a better understanding of how much damage was done during the destructive flooding in Louisiana and how long it will take to recover.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) released new data Tuesday concerning homes and businesses.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, 70,000 homes were in an area that flooded. That’s around 35.4 percent of all houses in EBR. That’s a big jump from numbers released a week ago.
“The potential area of damage in our early analysis was about fourteen percent of the parish,” said BRAC CEO Adam Knapp. “And the new numbers show that it’s thirty five percent. So it’s a much more significant area of Baton Rouge, and the amount of the value of the homes in that area is much, much larger.”
One reason for the big jump is that the numbers of impacted homes from Central, Baker and Zachary were put into the EBR total.
They looked at Livingston Parish as well. Around 49,000 homes were in an area that flooded. That’s more than 86 percent of all homes in the parish.
BRAC said that totals up to more than $9 billion in damage to homes there.
Businesses fared badly as well in the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes EBR and eight surrounding parishes. BRAC said 12.000 businesses were impacted which is around 35 percent of all businesses in that region.
“This is about 136,000 workers that have been affected because of the flooding,” said Director of Business Intelligence Andrew Fitzgerald.
LSU’s Jim Richardson has been following the flood and resulting damage closely. He has been with the university for more than 40 years and did research on Hurricane Katrina.
He estimated the recovery in Baton Rouge won’t be as difficult as Katrina, but it will still be long. He estimated it will be at least a year before the city is back to normal.
“This is not something where you back up on your feet the next day, and say, ‘okay, we’re ready to run.’ It’s gonna take a while to get back up on your feet,” Richardson said.
Richardson said the one bright spot is that there will be a boost to the local economy as people buy appliances and furniture to replace their damaged goods, and restaurants will get more business because people will be eating out more.
BRAC said that small businesses looking for help during recovery can got to its website.